Saturday, July 26, 2014

1977 - THE WHITE BUFFALO, yup JAWS as a western.

Producer Dino De Laurentiis was never one to miss and opportunity to rip off a successful movie particularly Jaws,  bought the book The White Buffalo and had the author Richard Sale turn it into a screenplay.  Past his prime director J. Lee Thompson was signed as director and Charles Bronson got the role as Wild Bill Hickok.

The story seems to be about Hickok confronting his demons which take the form of a white buffalo in his dreams.  Hickok teams up with legendary native American Crazy Horse when it turns out the white buffalo actually exists.  The white buffalo in fact reminds me of the "land shark" sketch that the early days of Saturday Night Live used to pull out for a few cheap laughs until they finally ran that joke into the ground.

The White Buffalo buffalo was built by Carlo Rimbaldi and ran on a track on a film set.  Rimbaldi had built the giant arms for De Laurentiis version of King Kong in the 1970's.  But probably Rimbaldi was most famous for constructing ET for Steven Spielberg and the weird succubus creature in Possession.  The cast was loaded with lots of old time Hollywood people.  Clint Walker, Stuart Whitman, Slim Pickens, Kim Novak and John Carradine.

The White Buffalo is watchable but not particularly good.  It's fun to see Bronson who was always a screen presence in a film but the final battle with the buffalo on the ORCA, the fake snowy set is a little silly.

97 minutes.

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